Coronavirus: Woolworths backflips on face mask policy

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

Woolworths has announced they now require all customers and staff to wear face masks in areas hardest hit by coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the supermarket told Yahoo News Australia that while it encouraged customers to wear face coverings, staff wouldn’t refuse to serve those who didn’t.

But Woolworths today updated its policy to be consistent with the mandatory government order that will come into effect across parts of Victoria from 11:59pm Wednesday.

“From tomorrow (Thursday), we expect every customer entering our stores in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to wear a face-covering as per the Government's directive,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.

Woolworths customers in Melbourne will now have to wear face masks in store.
From midnight on Wednesday Woolworths will require all customers to wear masks in-store in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire locations. Source: AAP

“This policy has been agreed upon through the Supermarket's Taskforce and is consistent with other major retailers.”

Woolworths said the safety and wellbeing of customers and staff is a top priority and as coronavirus cases continue to break records across VIC, most major retailers in the state are enforcing the mask rule.

The supermarket giant has introduced a number of measures to help keep team members and customers safe from the spread of COVID-19, including installing petitions at registers, anti-bacterial wipes near trolley bays and launching a Q-Tracker that allows customers to see how busy each location is in real time so they can avoid crowds.

Those out and about in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who refuse to wear face masks could face fines of up to $200.

Woolworths said all staff will be wearing face coverings with the exception of those who have a medical reason approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Face masks have been readily available to Woolworths team members nationally since April.

The supermarket is encouraging customers who have medical reasons for not wearing a mask to shop online or use community pick up options.

Woolworths customers in Melbourne will now have to wear face masks in store.
Woolworths has announced they now require all customers and staff to wear face masks in areas hardest hit by coronavirus. Source: AAP

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.